Earwax, and other minor inconveniences

          It was at about the time that the doctor was walking toward me with a container of water in one hand and what looked like some sort of midieval torture device in the other that I began to have serious doubts about showing up for my appointment at the urgent care clinic. I briefly considered making a break for it, but it was too late. I’d never be allowed to leave untreated. Doctors can be such bastards that way.

            I’d come because of my ear. My right ear to be exact. It had been stopped up for nearly a week, and I simply couldn’t take it anymore. In addition to the physical discomfort I was in, the condition had begun to affect my hearing. Anyone standing or sitting to my right who spoke to me was likely to receive either no response at all, or one based on my best guess as to what the person had actually said. As you can imagine, this made for some extremely uncomfortable conversations.

            For most people, having a doctor examine their ear is no great hardship. But then, most people are not me. I am extremely sensitive about my ears. This sensitivity derives mainly from the chronic earaches I suffered as a child. During one especially severe instance my parents took me to a doctor who, in an effort to alieviate the incredible pressure in my head, punctured my eardrum with a syringe, unleashing a torrent of fluid and inflicting even more pain upon me. To get an idea of what the procedure may have looked like, click here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPt6FZzriXQ

According to my father, the fountain of fluid which erupted from my inflamed ear canal  reached the ceiling, but he was always prone to exaggeration. I’m sure it wasn’t more than six feet high at most. The earaches finally subsided after a tonsillectomy, but I was left which an intense phobia of anything entering my ear. For an idea of just how sensitive I am about my ears click on the following link. http://www.myspace.com/video/there-39-s-something-about-mary/there-39-s-something-about-mary-baseball/31138544

Now here I was at the doctor, my ears once again taking center stage. The first person to take a look at them was a young PA. After peering into both ears, she pronounced the one on the right side completely clogged, and indicated the the doctor would have to handle it. There is nothing quite like having an attractive woman looking into your ear canal as if it were some sort of cave of horrors. She seemed unphased though, or so I judged from the fact that she didn’t run screaming from the room.

The doctor walked over to me and sat down his intrument of terror. After assuring me that everything would be okay (yeah, I’ve heard that one before) he poured the water into the device he’d been holding before and sat down beside me. After positioning a curved cup against my neck to catch any spilled water, he inserted a long, metal tube into my right ear and turned on the machine.

Instantly a jet of water exploded into my ear canal. To say it was uncomfortable would be like saying that the desert is dry. I squirmed in my seat, refraining from pulling away only with great effort. After a minute or so, I expected the doctor to turn off the machine, but he continued spraying the water, now moving the tube around and around inside my ear. I gritted my teeth and closed my eyes; focusing on remaining calm. Certainly he had to be almost finished, didn’t he? But still the water kept coming.

Just when it seemed I could bear it no more, I heard the flick of the switch as the doctor turned off the machine. He removed the metal tube and instructed me to tilt my head toward him. When I complied, and the remaining water drained out of my ear, the relief was like nothing I’d ever experienced. Suddenly I could hear again!

I immediately turned and thanked the doctor. My ear felt better than it had in years. Sensing that my visit was at an end, I began to rise to my feet in preparation to leave. I felt good. The treatment had been uncomfortable, but I’d made it through and was now ear wax free. I was just reaching for my sweater when the doctor’s calm voice found it’s way to my newly opened ear.

“Sit back down,” he said. “I have to clean out your other ear.”

            I won’t describe the horrors visited upon my left ear except to say that for some reason, it took twice as long as the other one. By the time I finally left the office, clutching some medical papers limply in one hand, it was nearly dark. I staggered to my car through pelting rain (that’s right, It does rain in SoCal now and then), making a mental note to do a better job of cleaning out my ears so as not to need a return visit. I got into my car and headed home, marvelling at how clearly I could hear the horn blasts and “f*** yous!” of the agitated rush hour drivers.

            On the way home, I stopped at the bank to get some change for laundry day. I ended up with two rolls of quarters. When I arrived at home, I made the mistake of placing the quarters on a shelf in the bedroom. I say that putting them on the shelf was a mistake because the shelf no longer, in a technical sense, exists. An instant after I turned away, the shelf fell off of the wall and crashed to the floor amidst a litter of quarters, keys, jewelry, and other assorted items. After my initial surprise at the demise of the shelf, I remembered that, after all, I was the one who installed it in the first place. With my track record at “home improvement” projects, what had I really expected to happen?                   

That night, to celebrate my newly clean ear canals (we don’t need much in order to have a celebration as casa Maxwell. Don’t judge us!), we decided to go out for dinner. We ended up at Zensei Sushi, http://www.yelp.com/biz/zensei-sushi-san-diego, which turned out to be a great choice. The dim lighting and Japanese inspired décor made for a great atmosphere, and the curry angus steak was incredible.

Later on we watched a movie entitled “Beasts of the Southern Wild;” a film about a young girl and her father living in a sort of post apocolyptic New Orleans inspired area. It was a weird movie, but engaging. The lead actress, six year old Quvenzhane Wallis stole the show with a great performance. For more on this unusual film, click on the following link. http://www.beastsofthesouthernwild.com/

On to this week’s top ten list. Today’s topic: favorite restaurants in California. While we’ve only been here for a few months, we’ve had the opportunity to try many different places. Here are my favorites, in no particular order:

  1. Mama Testa: San Diego
  2. Olympic Cafe: San Diego
  3. Lucha Libre: San Diego
  4. Pokez: San Diego
  5. Compadres Taco Shop: El Cajon
  6. Mao’s Chinese: Venice Beach
  7. Stinking Rose: Los Angeles
  8. Pier Café: Ocean Beach
  9. Oscar’s Mexican Seafood: Pacific Beach
  10.  In N Out Burger: everywhere

There you have it, some of my personal favorites. If you’re ever in the area, you could do much worse than sampling some of the eateries. For more info on these and other restaurants in the area, check out this link: http://www.yelp.com. As always, thanks for reading. And if you happen to see me on the street, or at the supermarket, be sure to say hello. No matter which side you are standing on, I’ll actually be able to hear you now. See you next time!

 

 

           

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